We went last night, not only a chance to see our boys play, we also know the dads of 2 of the Eastleigh players. Good to see the club taking all the cups seriously and playing some first teamers : ) Very one sided, could have doubled our score, theirs was a "Worldeee " and their only shot on target. No 'Caroline but some had their clappers : )
Couple of things struck me. I was thinking, Eastleigh had a lot of kids out and they're a National League club, bit unfair playing against the likes of Pugh and Mings. Then it occurred to me they were playing at that level at the Eastleigh lads age. They've both worked exceptionally hard to get where they are now, Pughie especially, a winger without blinding pace, he must've spent ages practicing his twists and turns. His close control is almost like a magician's sleight of hand. All 3 of the older 1st teamers were committed and playing for the team, no ( unnecessary show boating or sulking ). Pughie has been a favourite of ours ever since we ended up in the same hotel as he uncle, up in Shrewsbury ( however many years ago? )
Also remembered a few years back, during Eddie's Burnley Sojourn, watching a FA Youth Cup? tie against AFC Totton's youth team. Grooves, Broke and ( a young, enthusiastic lad, can't remember his, didn't last long upon the Prodigal's return ) were in charge of our youths. What a contrast to last night, struggled to a draw after 120 minutes and lost on penalties. Hardly a shot in anger or on target all night. The young lad would jump out of the dugout, shouting encouraging, attacking instructions, 3 forward passes and we're near their penalty area. The Groover would appear from the dugout, suck his teeth, make calming gestures, 3 passes later we're back on our penalty area. Brokesie would copy which ever one was showing.
Writing that I've just remembered Oxford away in the League cup under PG (shudder ). They could have spent all the money Eddie has and we still wouldn't be able to get promoted back to League 1 : )
The similarities with the England set up are startling. England is going to have a pretty impressive generation of players coming through in the next few years. Maybe we will too. I think the culture instilled by the AFCB backroom staff is making a huge difference and it’s reassuring that at least on a playing level the club has made great advances in building from ground up.
As an aside, Wee Man’s anecdote about practising his shot for the first goal on Saturday with Jimmy Glass was pretty heartwarming. I loved mad Jimmy. Was gutted when he was offloaded.
I saw the 2nd half on AFCBTV. Not going to comment on the individual performances themselves due to the quality of opposition. What did impress me was how organised we were and how fluid with our movement was as a team. Whenever one player roamed from his designated position, another would move into the space. Certainly looks like the U23’s are well coached.
Speaking of Eastleigh, I noticed James Constable in their lineup. Wonder how much he regrets turning down the 3k a week we offered him to join in the Bradbury era?